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4 Best “Rooftop Van Tents” (Attach to The Roof of Your Van)


Embarking on a road trip adventure and exploring the great outdoors is a unique and thrilling experience, but finding the right sleeping accommodations can be a challenge.

Van tents offer a comfortable and convenient solution for van life travelers looking to sleep on the road without compromising on mobility and flexibility. These innovative tents attach directly to your van or SUV, providing a seamless blend of shelter and accessibility.

In this comprehensive guide, we will help you navigate the world of van tents, discuss the key factors to consider when purchasing one, and present the top options available on the market.

Benefits of Van Tents

Before delving into the specifics of van tents, it’s essential to understand their benefits and how they can enhance your on-the-road experience:

A. Convenience:

Van tents provide a quick and easy setup, allowing you to create a comfortable sleeping space in minutes.

B. Weather protection:

These tents are designed to withstand various weather conditions, keeping you dry and comfortable during unexpected rain or wind.

C. Versatility:

Van tents are compatible with a wide range of vehicles, making them a suitable option for diverse road trip adventures.

D. Security:

By connecting directly to your vehicle, van tents offer an additional layer of security and privacy.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Van Tent

To find the ideal van tent for your needs, consider the following factors:

A. Vehicle Compatibility:

Ensure that the van tent is compatible with your vehicle’s make and model. Most manufacturers provide a compatibility list, which can be a helpful resource.

B. Size and Capacity:

Consider the number of people who will be using the tent and the amount of sleeping space and storage space needed.

C. Material and Durability:

Look for high-quality, durable materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions and long-term use.

D. Ventilation:

Opt for a van tent with ample windows and vents to provide proper airflow and reduce condensation inside the tent.

E. Setup and Takedown:

Choose a van tent that is easy to set up and disassemble, saving you time and energy during your road trip adventures.

F. Price:

Determine your budget and compare different options within your price range to find the best value.

G. Mattress:

Ensure the mattress in the tent is thick enough and comfortable enough to keep you comfortable throughout the night. If not, you may want to consider replacing the mattress or adding a pad.

Top 4 Rooftop Van Tents on the Market

Now that we’ve covered the essential factors to consider, let’s explore some of the best van tents available on the market:

1. The Sky Ridge Pike 2-Person Tent by Body Armor (Universal Fit)

Best Bang for Your Buck


What our testers are saying:

The Sky Ridge Pike is an excellent choice for campers looking for a durable and comfortable shelter for their outdoor adventures. Its easy setup, robust construction, and comfortable interior make it a fantastic option for those who love exploring the great outdoors. While the weight and price may be a concern for some, the tent’s performance and features make it a worthwhile investment for many.

This rooftop tent easily mounts to your vehicle’s roof rack, providing a convenient and elevated sleeping area.

Popular Specs:

  1. Sleeps: 2 people
  2. Tent Material: 280g Poly-cotton ripstop fabric with PU coating
  3. Frame: Aluminum poles
  4. Dimensions (closed): 48″ x 56″ x 14″ (LxWxH)
  5. Dimensions (open): 48″ x 96″ x 50″ (LxWxH)
  6. Weight: 108 lbs
  7. Weight capacity: 750 lbs
  8. Mounting: Universal mounting system, compatible with most roof racks


  1. Easy Setup: The Sky Ridge Pike tent is quick and easy to set up and take down, making it perfect for on-the-go campers.
  2. Durable Construction: The tent’s robust materials and aluminum frame provide excellent durability in various weather conditions.
  3. Comfort: A high-density foam mattress ensures a comfortable sleeping experience, while the tent’s interior provides ample space for two people.
  4. Ventilation: Mesh windows and a skylight provide excellent ventilation, keeping the tent’s interior fresh and comfortable.
  5. Rainfly: The included rainfly offers additional protection against rain and other harsh weather elements.


  1. Weight: At 108 lbs, the tent is relatively heavy, which may be a concern for some campers with smaller vehicles or limited roof rack weight capacity.
Easily folds down into an all in one compact case for travel. Universally compatible with just about any vehicle. Perfect set up for vans with a roofrack that need to sleep 2 people.
Folds out with a ladder for easy access in and out.
Comfortably fits 2 sleepers.

2. The Overlander Tent by Smittybilt

Best for 3 Sleepers


What our testers are saying:

The Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent is a popular choice among campers and overlanding enthusiasts, offering a comfortable and convenient camping experience.

The Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent is an excellent option for those looking for a durable, comfortable, and feature-rich tent for their camping and overlanding adventures.

The quality construction, ease of setup, and integrated features make it a worthwhile investment for those who prioritize comfort and convenience during their outdoor excursions.

Key Features:

  1. Dimensions: Open size: 56″W x 96″L x 52″H; Closed size: 56″W x 48″L x 12″H
  2. Sleeps: 2-3 people comfortably
  3. Weight: 116 lbs (52.6 kg)
  4. Material: 600D heavy-duty waterproof top and rainfly; sunroof with mosquito netting
  5. Setup: Easy and quick setup with telescoping aluminum ladder
  6. Mattress: 2.5-inch high-density foam mattress included
  7. Mounting: Universal mounting brackets compatible with most roof racks and crossbars
  8. Accessories: LED strip interior light, 12V power outlet, and USB ports


  1. Durable construction: The Overlander is built with high-quality materials, ensuring it can withstand harsh weather conditions and keep you dry and comfortable.
  2. Comfort: The high-density foam mattress provides a comfortable sleeping surface, and the tent’s spacious interior offers ample room for 2-3 people.
  3. Ventilation: The tent features a sunroof with mosquito netting, windows, and door for excellent ventilation and panoramic views.
  4. Easy setup: The telescoping aluminum ladder makes setup and breakdown quick and easy, so you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors.
  5. Integrated features: The Overlander comes with an LED strip light, 12V power outlet, and USB ports, making it convenient for charging devices and providing illumination at night.


  1. Weight: At 116 lbs, the tent is relatively heavy, which may be a concern for those with smaller vehicles or limited roof load capacity.
  2. Price: The Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent is on the higher end of the price range compared to some other rooftop tents on the market.
Includes built in ladder for easy access in and out
Room to sleep 3 people
Folds down into a compact rooftop bag
Easily attaches to any roof rack

3. The Aluminum Hard Shell Tent by SUFUL

Most Aerodynamic

What our testers are saying:

The Aluminum Hard Shell Tent by SUFUL is a durable and spacious rooftop tent designed for camping enthusiasts who prioritize quality, comfort, and ease of use. It offers a perfect solution for those who love the outdoors and want a reliable shelter for their adventures.

Popular Specs:

  • Material: Lightweight, sturdy aluminum hard shell
  • Dimensions: (Closed) L 85″ x W 55″ x H 11″; (Open) L 85″ x W 55″ x H 42″
  • Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
  • Sleeps: 2-3 people comfortably
  • Mounting: Universal mounting system, compatible with most roof racks
  • Opening mechanism: Gas strut-assisted opening and closing
  • Interior: High-density foam mattress, storage pockets, and built-in LED light
  • Weather resistance: Waterproof, UV-resistant, and wind-resistant


  1. Durable and weather-resistant: The aluminum hard shell offers excellent protection against harsh weather conditions, including heavy rain, strong winds, and harmful UV rays.
  2. Easy to set up and take down: The gas strut-assisted opening and closing mechanism makes it quick and effortless to set up and pack away the tent, giving you more time to enjoy your adventure.
  3. Comfortable: The high-density foam mattress provides a comfortable sleeping surface, while the interior storage pockets and LED light enhance your camping experience.
  4. Aerodynamic design: The low-profile, sleek design of the tent reduces wind resistance and fuel consumption while driving.
  5. Universal mounting system: The Aluminum Hard Shell Tent by SUFUL is compatible with most roof racks, making it a versatile option for various vehicles.


  1. Weight: At 150 lbs (68 kg), the tent might be heavier than some soft-shell alternatives, which could be a concern for those with smaller vehicles or limited roof load capacity.
  2. Price: The Aluminum Hard Shell Tent by SUFUL may be more expensive than other rooftop tents, but its durability and convenience could justify the investment.
  3. Capacity: The tent comfortably sleeps 2-3 people, which might not be sufficient for larger families or groups.

Final Thoughts: The Aluminum Hard Shell Tent by SUFUL is a solid choice for those who prioritize durability, convenience, and comfort in their camping experience. Its weather-resistant construction, easy setup, and universal mounting system make it a great option for a wide range of adventurers. While the price and weight might be higher compared to some alternatives, the benefits it offers could make it the right choice for your next outdoor adventure.

4. The Basin Rooftop by Thule

Best Luxury Option

What our testers are saying:

The Thule Basin Rooftop Tent is a durable and spacious rooftop tent that comfortably sleeps 2-3 people. Its aerodynamic design reduces wind resistance and noise during travel, while the easy-to-set-up mechanism makes it quick to deploy when you reach your destination. Made from high-quality, weather-resistant materials, the tent provides excellent protection from the elements and features a built-in mattress for added comfort.

Popular Specs:

  • Sleeps: 2-3 people
  • Tent Material: Durable, weather-resistant polyester
  • Frame: Aluminum poles for lightweight strength
  • Mattress: 2-inch high-density foam mattress
  • Dimensions (closed): 55″ W x 78″ L x 11″ H
  • Dimensions (open): 55″ W x 78″ L x 49″ H
  • Weight: 130 lbs
  • Mounting: Universal mounting brackets compatible with most roof racks


  1. Spacious and comfortable, providing ample room for 2-3 people.
  2. Easy and quick setup, allowing more time for relaxation and exploration.
  3. Aerodynamic design for reduced wind resistance and noise during travel.
  4. High-quality, weather-resistant materials for excellent protection and durability.
  5. Built-in mattress adds extra comfort and convenience.
  6. Universal mounting brackets make it compatible with most roof racks.


  1. At 130 lbs, the tent might be too heavy for some vehicles or roof racks.
  2. The price may be a bit steep for budget-conscious campers.
  3. Limited ventilation options compared to some other rooftop tents.

Conclusion: The Thule Basin Rooftop Tent is a great option for campers seeking a comfortable, convenient, and durable sleeping solution for their outdoor adventures. Its spacious design, easy setup, and weather-resistant materials make it an excellent choice for both seasoned campers and those new to rooftop camping. However, potential buyers should consider the weight and cost of this tent before making a decision. Overall, the Basin Rooftop by Thule is a solid investment for those looking to elevate their camping experience.

Easily pops up in just over a minute
2.5 inch thick mattress pad included
Enough sleeping room for 2 adults comfortably. Could comfortably add a child as well.
Soft roof padding

The Different Types of Van Tents and Their Pricing

There are several types of van tents available on the market, each with unique features and price points:

A. Rear Attachment Van Tents:

These tents attach to the rear of your vehicle and typically feature a universal sleeve design that fits a wide range of vehicles. Prices for rear attachment van tents can range from $150 to $350, depending on the size, materials, and brand.

B. Side Attachment Van Tents:

Similar to rear attachment van tents, side attachment tents connect to the side of your vehicle, providing easy access to your van’s interior. These tents are less common and may be more expensive, with prices ranging from $200 to $500.

C. Rooftop Tents for Vans:

Rooftop tents attach to your van’s roof rack and provide an elevated sleeping space. While not strictly considered van tents, they are a popular option for van and SUV owners. Prices for rooftop tents can vary significantly, ranging from $800 to over $2,000, depending on the brand, materials, and additional features.

D. Custom Van Tents:

For those seeking a tailored fit for their specific vehicle or unique requirements, custom van tents can be an option. However, these tents tend to be more expensive, with prices starting at $500 and going up depending on the level of customization.

When determining your budget for a van tent, consider factors such as the tent’s durability, material quality, ease of setup, and vehicle compatibility. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, investing in a higher-quality van tent can provide a better overall experience and longer-lasting performance.

Alternative Options to Van Tents

If you’re exploring alternative options to van tents for your road trip adventures, consider the following solutions for a comfortable and enjoyable experience:

A. Interior Van Mattress:

Transform your vehicle’s interior into a cozy sleeping space by using a custom-fit van mattress or a foldable foam mattress. This option is convenient and cost-effective, though it may require rearranging the van’s interior and may not provide as much space as a van tent.

B. Air Mattress:

Inflatable air mattresses designed for vehicle interiors can be an excellent alternative to a van tent. These mattresses can be easily inflated and deflated, allowing you to create a comfortable sleeping area within your vehicle. However, this option may limit your interior space and require ventilation management.

C. Outside Ground Tent:

Traditional ground tents provide a separate sleeping area from your vehicle and are available in various sizes, designs, and price points. While ground tents can be more affordable and versatile than van tents, they may require more time and effort for setup and takedown.

D. Pulling a Camper or Trailer:

If you have a vehicle with towing capabilities, you can consider pulling a camper or trailer for a more comfortable and equipped sleeping space. This option offers additional amenities, such as built-in beds, kitchenettes, and restrooms, but may be more expensive and less maneuverable than using a van tent.

E. Sleeping Hammocks:

If you’re traveling in mild weather and have access to trees or other anchor points, sleeping hammocks can provide a lightweight and comfortable alternative to van tents. However, this option may not offer the same level of weather protection and privacy as a tent.

F. Campervan or RV Rentals:

For those seeking a fully equipped and comfortable mobile living space, renting a campervan or RV can provide built-in sleeping, cooking, and restroom facilities. While these vehicles offer a more comprehensive solution, they may be more expensive and less maneuverable compared to your personal vehicle with a van tent.

Each alternative option has its unique advantages and drawbacks, so consider your specific needs, preferences, and budget when deciding on the best solution for your road trip accommodations.


Q1: Can I drive with the van tent attached to my vehicle?

A: No, it is not recommended to drive with the van tent attached to your vehicle. Van tents are designed for stationary use only. You should disassemble and pack the tent before hitting the road.

Q2: How do I clean and maintain my van tent?

A: To clean your van tent, use mild soap, water, and a soft brush or cloth to gently remove dirt and debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they may damage the tent fabric. Always allow the tent to dry completely before storing it to prevent mold and mildew growth. Regularly inspect your van tent for signs of wear or damage and repair them promptly to maintain its longevity.

Q3: Is it safe to use a heater inside my van tent?

A: While some heaters are designed for use in tents, exercise extreme caution when using any heating source inside your van tent. Always choose a heater specifically designed for tent use and follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines. Ensure proper ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide buildup and never leave a heater unattended.

Q4: How can I make my van tent more comfortable for sleeping?

A: To enhance your sleeping comfort, consider adding an air mattress, sleeping pad, or camping cot for extra cushioning and insulation. High-quality sleeping bags or blankets will also help regulate temperature and keep you warm and cozy throughout the night. Additionally, bring along pillows or travel cushions for added neck and head support.

Q5: How do I know if a van tent will fit my vehicle?

A: To determine if a van tent is compatible with your vehicle, consult the manufacturer’s compatibility list, which should provide information about the specific makes and models the tent is designed to fit. You can also check customer reviews and online forums for further insights from other users who have tried the van tent with their vehicles.

Q6: Can I use a van tent if my vehicle has a rear-mounted spare tire or bike rack?

A: Some van tents come with adjustable straps or sleeves that can accommodate rear-mounted spare tires or bike racks. However, you should always check the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations to ensure that the van tent is suitable for use with your particular vehicle configuration. In some cases, you may need to purchase additional accessories to secure the tent around the spare tire or bike rack properly.


Choosing the best van tent for your road trip adventures is an important decision that can significantly impact your overall experience. By considering factors such as vehicle compatibility, size and capacity, materials, ventilation, and price, you can find a van tent that suits your specific needs and preferences. The top options we’ve discussed, such as the Napier Sportz SUV Tent, Rightline Gear SUV Tent, ARB Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent, and KingCamp Melfi Plus SUV Tent, each offer unique features and benefits that cater to a variety of road trip scenarios and personal requirements.

By investing time and effort into researching and comparing the different van tents on the market, you can make a well-informed decision that will enhance your road trip experience and provide a comfortable, secure, and versatile sleeping solution. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or an extended journey, the right van tent will ensure that you have a cozy, mobile home away from home, allowing you to fully enjoy the excitement and freedom of life on the open road.

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